INSTRUCTION ON THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER
INTROIT The Lord became my
protector, and He brought me forth into a large place: He saved me,
because he was well pleased with me. (Ps. XVII.) I will love Thee, O
Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, and my refuge, and my
deliverer. Glory &c.
COLLECT Make us, O Lord, to have a
perpetual fear and love of Thy holy name; for Thou never failest to
help and govern those whom Thou dost establish in Thy steadfast
EPISTLE (I ,John III. 13-18.) Dearly
beloved, Wonder not if the world hate you. We know that we have
passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He that
loveth not, abideth in death; whosoever hateth his brother is a
murderer. And you know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in
himself. In this we have known the charity of God, because he bath
laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for
the brethren. He that hath the substance of this world, and shall
see his brother in need, and shut up his bowels from him, how doth
the charity of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love
in word nor in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
EXPLANATION People who are really
pious have always something to suffer from the wicked world, as,
Jesus foretold, but they do not cease to love their persecutors as
their best friends, and are ready, if necessary, to give their life
for ,their enemies, as Christ did. Thus should all Christians act;
for the love of our neighbor and even of our enemies is a universal
command, a law that binds all; it is the life of the soul. Hatred
deprives the soul of this life and makes man a murderer, because
hatred is the beginning of murder, and often ends in homicide. By
love we know the true Christians. (John. XIII. 35.) St. John even
considers love the certain sign of being chosen for eternal life,
when he says: We know, we have passed from death to life, because we
love the brethren. Alas! how few will be chosen from among the
Christians of to-day, because there is so little love among them!
Empty compliments, assurances of friendships &c. love appears
only in words, only on the tongue; and such idle, ephemeral,
worthless love is found everywhere in this world; but that which is
love in truth and reality, which shows charity to the suffering, how
rare it is! and yet only to this love is promised eternal life,
because it alone rests on the love of God.
XIV. 16-24.) At that time, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees this
parable: A certain man made a great supper,and invited many. And he
sent his servant, at the hour of supper, to say to them that were
invited, that they should come, for now all things are ready. And
they began all at once to make excuse. The first said to him: I have
bought a farm, and I must needs go out, and see it; I pray thee hold
me excused. And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I
go to try them; I pray thee hold me excused. And another said: I
have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant
returning, told these things to his lord. Then the master of the
house being angry, said to his, servant: Go out quickly into the
streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the
feeble, and the blind, and the lame. And the servant said: Lord, it
is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord
said to the servant: Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel
them to come in, that my house maybe filled. But I say unto you,
that none of these men that were invited shall taste of my
What as to be understood by this great
The Church of
Christ on earth, in which His doctrine and His most precious Flesh
and Blood are given as food to those who belong to her; also the
Church triumphant in heaven, in which God Himself, in the beatific
vision, is the nourishment. This supper is called great, because God
Himself has founded the Church; because the Church embraces heaven
and earth, hence many belong and will belong to her; and because
having ended the contest on earth, she will last forever in heaven.
There the saints of God will enjoy the Highest Good for all
eternity, and will have nothing to wish for, since all their desires
will there be realized. O, what happiness it is that we are invited
to His supper, and as guests are nourished by the teachings of
Christ, and by His most sacred Flesh and Blood.
Who is it that prepares the super?
It is Christ,
the God?Man, who for our benefit has not only instituted His Church
to which He has entrusted doctrine and the Sacrament of His Flesh
and Blood, but has gained eternal salvation for us by His passion
and death, and who has invited us first by the prophets, who
foretold Him and His divine kingdom, and afterwards by His apostles,
and their successors to His great supper.
Who are they who excuse themselves?
principally the Jews who bound by pride and avarice to earthly
possessions, and blinded by the pleasures of the world, did not
recognize Jesus, and remained outside of His church. By him who said
he had bought a farm are understood those who by constant anxieties
about the possession of earthly goods, and the riches of this world,
become indifferent to eternal salvation. By him who had bought five
yoke of oxen, is to be understood that sort of busy men who are so
burdened with worldly affairs that they find no time to work for
heaven, for they even appropriate Sundays and festivals to their
worldly affairs. By him who had. taken a wife, and could not come,
are represented the carnal, impure men who have rendered themselves
by their lusts incapable of spiritual and heavenly joys. Since these
different classes of people do not wish to have part in the heavenly
banquet, God has excluded them and called others.
Who are meant by the poor, the feeble, the blind and the
The humble and
submissive Jews, the publicans, also the Samaritans and the
Gentiles, who did not reject Jesus and His doctrine as did the
proud, high-minded, carnal Scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus spoke
this parable. The former faithfully received Him, entered His
Church, and became participators in eternal happiness. This is daily
repeated, because God excludes from the kingdom of heaven those
proud, avaricious, and carnal Christians who are ever invited by His
servants, the priests, to the enjoyment of holy Communion, but who
reject the invitation. On the contrary God welcomes the poor,
despised people, the penitent sinners, by separating them from the
love of the world by the inspiration of His grace, and by the
adversities which He sends them. Thus, in a measure, He forces them
to take part in the spiritual joys of a sincerely pious life in His
Church on earth, and in the heavenly bliss of His Church in
SUPPLICATON I thank Thee, O most
merciful Jesus that Thou bast called me into Thy Church, permitting
me sc often to share in the banquet of Thy love, and that by Thy
sufferings and death Thou hast obtained the joys of heaven for me.
Urge me as seems pleasing to Thee, compel me by temporal trials that
by the use of these graces I may obtain the place which Thou bast
prepared for me in heaven.
MORAL LESSON CONCERNING THE VICE OF
married a wife, and therefore I can not come. (Luke XIV.
foolish excuse it would seem as if married life were an obstacle to
arriving at the heavenly banquet, whereas lawful, chaste, Christian
marriage is, on the contrary, a means of eternal salvation for those
to whom the gift of continency is not given. The excuse of this
married man was not grounded on his station in life, but on his
inordinate inclination for carnal pleasures which render the one who
gives way to it, unfit for spiritual or heavenly things, for the
sensual man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God.
(I Cor. II. 14.)
indeed are they who suffer themselves to be carried away by their
sensual lusts, who give away the priceless jewel of chastity and
purity of heart which makes man equal to the angels, (Matt. XXII.
30.) who for a momentary enjoyment of sinful pleasure lose that
white and precious garment in which chaste souls will shine for ever
in heaven before the face of God! What benefit does the impure man
derive from the gratification of vile lust? He gains the anger and
contempt of God; intolerable disgust when the sin is consummated;
the torment of a remorseful conscience, and unless he repent, the
eternal torments of hell, for the apostle says: Do not err: neither
fornicators, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate shall possess the
kingdom of God, (I Cor. VI. 9, 10.) It is seen from the examples of
the Old Law, hove much God hates and abominates the sins of
impurity. Why did God regret having created man? (Gen. VI. 6.) , Why
did He destroy all except a very few, by a universal deluge? (Gen.
VI. 17.) Why did He lay the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha in ashes by
pouring upon them fire and brimstone? (Gen. XIX.) Why did He punish
the two brothers Her and Onan, by a sudden death? (Gen. XXXVII. 7.
10.) Why did He permit the whole tribe of Benjamin to be extirpated?
(Judges XX.) Because of their detestable sins of impurity. And is
not this vice an object of the just wrath of God? By these sins an
impure man disgraces his body which should be a member of Christ, a
temple of the Holy Ghost; he disgraces his soul the image of God,
purified and purchased by the precious blood of Christ, and lowers
himself beneath the animal, which, void of intellect, follows its
instinct; he weakens the power of his body and soul, and ruins his
health; he loses the respect of the good, scandalizes his fellowmen,
voluntarily separates himself from the communion of saints, deprives
himself of the sanctifying grace of God and participation in the
merits of Jesus and His saints, and, if he continues like an animal
to wallow in this vice, he finally falls into such blindness and
hardness of heart that eternal truths, death, judgment, hell, and
eternity no longer make any impression upon him; the most abominable
crimes of impurity he considers as trifles, as human weaknesses, no
sin at all. He is therefore but seldom, if ever, converted, because
the evil habit has become his second nature, which he can no longer
overcome without an extraordinary grace from God. This God seldom
gives, because the impure man generally despises ordinary means and
graces, and therefore despairs and casts himself into the pool of
eternal fire, where the worm dies not, and where with Satan and his
angels the impure shall be for ever tormented.
Do not suffer
yourself to be deceived, Christian soul, by the words "love and
friendship", which is sought to cover this vice and make it appear a
weakness clinging to man. This impure love is a fire which has its
origin in hell, and there it will eternally torment the bodies in
which it has prevailed. That which God so much detests and so
severely punishes, certainly cannot be a trifle, a human weakness!
Impress deeply on your heart that all impure thoughts, desires and
looks, to which you consent, all impure words, songs, exposures,
touches, jokes, and 'such things, are great sins which exclude you
from the kingdom of heaven, into which nothing defiled can enter.
Remember that he who looks at a woman with a lustful desire, has
already, as Christ says, committed adultery in his heart. (Matt. V.
28.) We must, then, carefully guard against "such trifles", as the
wicked world calls them, if we do not wish to expose ourselves to
the greatest danger of losing our souls. Although it is difficult
for an impure person to be converted, yet he should not despair. God
does not cast away even the greatest sinner; Jesus forgave the
adulteress in the temple, and forgave and received Mary Magdalen.
But he who wishes to repent must make use of the proper means to
regain the grace of God, and prevent a relapse. Those who have not
defiled themselves by the sin of impurity can make use of the
prayer. Hence the admonition of the wise King; As I knew that I
could not otherwise be continent, except God gave it, I went to
the Lord and besought him. (Wisd. VIII. 21.)
- Mortification of the flesh by fasting and abstinence. Jesus
says these impure spirits can in no other way be cast out but by
prayer and fasting. (Matt. XVII. 20.)
- The frequent
meditation on the four last things, and on the bitter sufferings
of our Lord; for there is, says St. Augustine, no means more
powerful and effective against the heat of lust than reflection on
the ignominious death of the Redeemer.
- The quiet
consideration of the temporal and eternal evils which follow from
this vice, as already described.
- The love and
veneration of the Blessed Virgin who is the mother of beautiful
love, the refuge of all sinners, of whom St. Bernard says: "No one
has ever invoked her in his necessity without being heard."
- The careful
mortification of the eyes. The pious Job made a covenant with his
eyes, that. he would not so much as look upon a virgin. (Job XXXI.
avoidance of evil occasions, especially intercourse with persons
of the other sex. "Remember," says St. Jerome, "that a woman drove
out the inhabitants of paradise, and that you are not holier than
David, stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon, who all fell by
avoidance of idleness: for idleness, says the proverb, is the
beginning of all evil.
immediate banishing of all bad thoughts by often pronouncing the
names of Jesus and Mary, which, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri says,
have the special power of driving away impure thoughts.
- The frequent
use of the holy Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. This last
remedy in particular is a certain cure if we make known to our
confessor our weaknesses, and use the remedies he prescribes. The
Scripture says that frequent Communion is the seed from which
virgins spring, and the table which God has prepared against all
temptations that annoy us.
COLLECT Inflame, O Lord, our loins and
hearts with the fire of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may serve Thee with
pure bodies, and please Thee with clean hearts. Amen.